Columbia, SC (WLTX) - We know all too well that Houston and other flooded cities have a long road of recovery ahead. Nearly two years after our October flood, we still have buildings in disrepair.
On Devine Street in Columbia there are three buildings that stand in the same condition they were in right after the flood.
TitleMax and Liberty Tax on one side of Devine, and Subway and Title Loan on the other are still empty.
Owner of the building where the TitleMax and Liberty Tax were house, says he's close to giving up. Owen Chastain tried to sell the building with no success.
The closest Chastain got to finding a buyer was a developer who wanted to get access to it from a side road that belongs to Tommy Thompson, the owner of Bi-Lo. Thompson denied access and the deal was lost.
Now Chastain says he's waiting to hear back from FEMA to see if they can buy it back as a part of the Hazard Mitigation Program.
Richland County has applied to buy 75 properties back, 60 residential and 15 commercial. So far, 50 residential have been approved and the TitleMax is not one of them.
Many have asked the question why don't they just tear it down? To that Chastain said this: because of past regulatory problems with flood ways, flood zones and the county telling me in the past that the building must reappear within it's existing footprint, I can't just tear it down.
Across the street, The City of Columbia says the Subway and Title Loan are still waiting for similar approvals from FEMA.